Join the Oregon Constitution Challenge

Become Part of Oregon's History

The original state Constitution from 1857 is kept locked away from the public except on rare occasions because of security and preservation concerns. Oregon’s current generation of schoolchildren have a chance to change that.

What is the Oregon Constitution Challenge?

​​​Oregon Secretary of State Dennis Richardson and Oregon State Archivist Mary Beth Herkert invite Oregon students to help make our state's founding document available for more Oregonians to see. The Oregon Constitution Challenge asks students to raise the $60,000 needed for a professional restoration of the historic document and a secure, climate-controlled display case.​​​​

Why are students being asked to lead the fundraising efforts?

In 1984, Oregon schoolchildren raised over $37,000 in coins - mostly pennies - to re-gild the golden pioneer on the Oregon State Capitol. In that spirit, the Archives Division is inviting Oregon's 600,000+ schoolchildren to contribute just 10 cents each to put the project on a path to success. The Constitution is both an important symbol of our democracy and the founding legal document upon which Oregon was built. It deserves to be restored and regularly displayed, and the Oregon Constitution Challenge will give students across Oregon the opportunity to protect and preserve our state Constitution, and become a part of our state’s lasting legacy.​​

What is the goal?

The goal is for students across Oregon to raise $60,000 by the end of the 2015-2016 school year. There’s no limit to how much or how little a school can contribute. Every school that raises a total of $250 or more toward the Constitution Challenge goal will have its school name engraved on a plaque displayed with the original Constitution, so that every future generation to view the Constitution will appreciate their contribution.​​

How does my school sign up?

The Oregon Constitution Challenge is open to all schools in Oregon. We encourage public, private, charter and homeschooled students to participate. Contact the Oregon Secretary of State’s Executive Office to add your name to the list of participating schools. Oregon.SOS@state.or.us​ or 503-986-1523. Please include the following information: School name; city; school district; name, email, and phone for the point of contact for the project; and any additional information that might be helpful for us to know – like which grades at your school are participating, or how the funds are being raised.

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We've completed the Constitution Challenge! Where do we send the check?

Please address the check to "Oregon State Archives" and send your Constitution Challenge funds to the following address. Include a memo that the funds are designated for the Constitution Challenge. Please also include your school's name as it should appear on the plaque, and contact information if we have any questions.
Mary Beth Herkert
Oregon State Archives
800 Summer Street NE
Salem, OR 97310

Are you doing school visits?

Yes! Secretary Richardson and State Archivist Mary Beth Herkert are visiting some schools to talk about the Oregon Constitution. Please fill out the Request for Speaking Engagement form​ to inquire about school visits.​​​​

Do you have additional resources?

Yes! Oregon students and their teachers are invited to consider the Oregon Civics Questions​ about Oregon’s Constitution and their state government. In addition, every student submitting a written response to these questions in their own words will have their answers permanently added to the holdings at the Oregon State Archives.

Learn more about how the Oregon Constitution was debated and written in the State Archives online exhibit, Crafting the Oregon Constitution: Framework for a New State​.

Finally, The Civics Toolkit​ is an Oregon-centric guide to elections civics. These lessons target students ages 17-24. ​​​​

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Original Oregon Constitution

Title page of 1857 Oregon Constitution
Title page of the original Oregon Constitution, including a handwritten annotation from former Secretary of State R. P. Earhart. (Enlarge​)
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